# Find element in slice/array with linear or binary search

yourbasic.org/golang

Go doesn’t have an out-of-the-box linear search function for slices and arrays. Here are two example linear search implemen­tations, which you can use as templates.

``````// Find returns the smallest index i at which x == a[i],
// or len(a) if there is no such index.
func Find(a []string, x string) int {
for i, n := range a {
if x == n {
return i
}
}
return len(a)
}

// Contains tells whether a contains x.
func Contains(a []string, x string) bool {
for _, n := range a {
if x == n {
return true
}
}
return false
}
``````
Binary search is faster than linear search, but only works if your data is in order. It's a sortcut. – Dan Bentley

If the array is sorted, you can use a binary search instead. This will be much more efficient, since binary search runs in worst-case logarithmic time, making O(log n) comparisons, where n is the size of the slice.

There are the three custom binary search functions: `sort.SearchInts`, `sort.SearchStrings` or `sort.SearchFloat64s`.

They all have the signature

``func SearchType(a []Type, x Type) int``

and return

• the smallest index `i` at which `x <= a[i]`
• or `len(a)` if there is no such index.

The slice must be sorted in ascending order.

``````a := []string{"A", "C", "C"}

fmt.Println(sort.SearchStrings(a, "A")) // 0
fmt.Println(sort.SearchStrings(a, "B")) // 1
fmt.Println(sort.SearchStrings(a, "C")) // 1
fmt.Println(sort.SearchStrings(a, "D")) // 3``````

There is also a generic binary search function `sort.Search`.

``func Search(n int, f func(int) bool) int``

It returns

• the smallest index `i` at which `f(i)` is true,
• or `n` if there is no such index.

It requires that `f` is false for some (possibly empty) prefix of the input range and then true for the remainder.

This example mirrors the one above, but uses the generic `sort.Search` instead of `sort.SearchInts`.

``````a := []string{"A", "C", "C"}
x := "C"

i := sort.Search(len(a), func(i int) bool { return x <= a[i] })
if i < len(a) && a[i] == x {
fmt.Printf("Found %s at index %d in %v.\n", x, i, a)
} else {
fmt.Printf("Did not find %s in %v.\n", x, a)
}
// Output: Found C at index 1 in [A C C].``````